Ministry sitting on KRU’s Sh94m as auctioneers strike
Sports Principal Secretary has been thrust into the limelight once more after it emerged that he is at the centre of financial woes at Kenya Rugby Union (KRU) that reached embarrassing levels yesterday when auctioneers forced their way into their secretariat and took away a number of properties over an unpaid debt.
Documents in our possession indicate that over Sh94 million from the Sports Fund was allocated to KRU as early as July, but as at October 1, the money had not been disbursed even after being approved.
According to the document titled “Written Resolution Passed by the Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund Oversight Board in Accordance with the Public Finance Management (Sports, Arts and Social Development Fund), Regulations, 2018,” Sh15,447,940 was approved for the Kenya Under-20 team, popularly known as Chipu, to facilitate their participation in the World Rugby U20 Trophy in Sao Paulo, Brazil from July 4-22, Sh35,275,400 to the women’s team Lionesses for the Africa Women’s Cup in Johannesburg, South Africa from August 7-18 and Sh43,650,720 to the 15s team Simba for the Gold Cup between June and September.
“The funds refereed to in “1”, “2” and “3” above shall be paid out of the allocation that has been apportioned to the promotion and development of sports, and shall be transferred from the Fund’s Collection Account N010003385658 to facilitate the disbursement,” reads part of the document dated July 16, 2019 in relation to the Sh94,374,100 allocation to KRU.
However, the money has not been released up to now with KRU pointing a finger at Kaberia.
“Administration of the funds is under him and he only plays politics when we ask instead of releasing the money. We have not paid allowances for the girls, Chipu, Simbas and sevens for months now. We, somehow, expect magic from these teams on the pitch yet they haven’t been paid,” said KRU vice-chairman Thomas Opiyo yesterday.
Yesterday’s incident came to light when photos of KRU’s property being carried away surfaced on social media before the union confirmed that indeed, one of their creditors was enforcing a court order after they failed to pay a debt running into millions.
“We have been operating on credit since SportPesa pulled out as one of our sponsors last year. If you look at our accounts, we have debts of between Sh70 million and Sh80 million every year and so we take services on credit and pay the suppliers when we get money,” added Opiyo.
“This particular incident is about an airline who supplied us with air tickets about five years ago but we have not paid them because we have been prioritising the teams when we receive cash. They went to court and were granted the right to auction our property if we do not pay.”
Sources told People Sport that KRU engaged a travel agency by the name EMI to procure air tickets for the national teams during the reign of Mwangi Muthee as chairman in 2015 and was owed Sh4 million by the union which increased to Sh10 million after additional charges including legal fees and interests were added.
With KRU not paying up, they went ahead to enforce the order which led to the mid morning incident that saw close to 10 mean-looking men invade the union offices and carted way several items which included a car, computers, tables, chairs, a fridge and a water dispenser.
This is the second time in a week that Kaberia has been accused of sitting on funds already approved after Football Kenya Federation boss Nick Mwendwa lashed out at him for frustrating national football teams on Tuesday.
Mwendwa complained that Kaberia had refused to release money meant for the teams despite approval by the ministry only for Sh3,8 million to be disbursed to Harambee Starlets a day later.
When contacted over the document, Kaberia was non-committal and told this writer he was in a meeting, promising to call back later to shed more light on the matter.
He did not call and had not responded to our text message by the time of going to press.